Last March, I ran my blog through Wordle as an activity suggested by Dave Dodgson. What resulted was a surprisingly reflective exercise that showed what words dominate my recent posts, whether they were student-centred or not and ultimately the predominant topics I discussed. Reminded by a Brad Patterson post, I decided to do it again, but this time with my Twitter account.
Look closely (and click on) at the 4C word above. Contained is vocabulary that Tagxedo pulled by entering “seburnt” into its provided space. Though this site works under the same principles as Wordle (it sizes words based on frequency), the upshot is that you can upload your own shapes (or words) of which the vocabulary takes form–a superior feature, especially for handouts.
What strikes me the most is the word Thanks, undoubtedly from tweeting thanks to those who have RTed me. Still, it accurately represents the gratitude I do have for everything and everyone involved with me on Twitter–my ability to share my posts with a large audience, my incredibly supportive and inspiring PLN, the valuable information I learn from by the curated links shared with me.
While it’s very easy and tempting to focus on the negative–what our teaching schedule is, how pay could be better, what little technology there is available or how frustrating our students can be–and that’s ok, it’s also important to put life into perspective and be gracious about what we do have (Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed, by the way). I’m reminded of this again, thanks to redoing this reflective exercise. (aside: I just heard the word ‘gratitude’ on an episode of Dexter I’m watching right now, seriously.)
Beyond the obvious gratitude I have for my Twitter-related benefits, I‘m forever grateful for the professional opportunities I have. I’m blessed with not a lack of irons in the fire. Teaching at the university, being surrounded by ELT books at English Central, studying in the Manchester EdTech Masters program and coorganising professional development through TESL Toronto and 4C keep me on my toes. It’s my life.
I thoroughly appreciate the colleagues I collaborate with each day. We aren’t constrained by a prescriptive curriculum and as a result meet together each week to talk about how the week went and what directives we need to move forward with to help our students meet the goals set out by content course they take. My experience in the program helps with direction, but it’s the collective think tank between us that encourages creativity in our lessons.
I‘m thankful for the students I work with, the classes that go swimmingly and those that challenge my patience. Without them, first I’d be unemployed. Secondly, their struggles with comprehension and then acquisition inspire me to determine alternative approaches to help them. Last but certainly not least, the worst of classes–that push me to the edge of explosion–cause me to internalise the issue, reflect on its roots and consider how to engage students differently.
I hope you can reflect on what you’re professionally thankful for as well. Thank you, my community!